22-08-2021 11:16 AM

BY Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh

Overall, people in our society are characterised by goodness of heart, kindness to others, and extreme politeness and honesty in dealings.

And this is something to take great pride in.

Like in all other societies the world over, however, there are those among us who do not live up to our society’s norms and values, often acting in oppositional ways: Offensive and aggressive in their behaviour in public, and rude and callous in their remarks.

These are a minority, we always stress; but one which is, alas, noticeable, visible, and impactful.

Examples of the regrettable conduct of such a minority abound, and they can be found in almost all situations where there is human interaction and encounter.

Two particular instances, however, illustrate such conduct best.

The first is the traffic situation.

People’s driving habits are a concrete manifestation of their personality. If one knows and judges people on the basis of what they say, one knows and judges them more on the basis of how they behave and what they actually do.

Motoring habits tell a lot about people, because motoring is all about abiding by laws, rules, regulations, and priorities; or not.

The goodness, kindness, courteousness, and altruism of people appear clearly on the road when they are behind the wheel.

On the basis of what we see on a daily basis, many motorists are exemplary in their interaction with both other motorists and with pedestrians.

The problem, as prefaced, is with the problematic minority: Those who behave rudely toward others, violate rules left and right, practice road rage and harass, threaten and endanger others.

Selfish, egotistical individuals who think only of themselves and utterly disregard the rights and feelings of others.

The irony related to many people who belong to this category is that, if you meet them and interact with them elsewhere, you find many of them to be good and considerate.

When they get behind the wheels, however, they become demons.

The second instance is social media.

As in traffic, most people who use social media are considerate and responsible when they write, speak, comment, or share — though the quality of what gets said or written or shared varies from one person to another depending on the depth and width of their education, and the substance of their person.

A minority, however, deviates: Focusing always on what is negative, dismissive, derisive and belittling of others.

These are people who are always on the edge, their finger on the trigger: Angry, mean, rude, offensive, subversive and ready to kill.

They belittle any or all achievements, make fun of any or all people, reject any or all opinions, dismiss each and every new idea, attack any person without checking the facts or thinking.

They manifest narrow-mindedness and intolerance at their best.

The irony is the same as in traffic. You meet people who belong to this category in life and they seem reasonable, considerate, tolerant and even charming.

The minute they long into their social media accounts, they become demons and assassins.

Clearly, laws need to be better enforced to stop these violators, in both the traffic and social-media situations.

But much needs to be done also at the level of education.

Otherwise, such subversive behaviour, if left unchecked or unprevented, may drag our society into more problems and push us in directions which could be truly damaging.

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